Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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A Beautiful Little Boy


 parable in which all the suffering was changed into joy, and then he clapped his hands. He explained to me many things in the parable as symbolical of the Passion of Christ, and he showed me the field in which grew the thorns from which the crown was being woven. He told me what the thorns signified, also that the field would become a magnificent wheat field around which the thorns, which would then be full of beau­tiful roses,2 should form a protecting hedge. Yes, he knew how to explain everything so familiarly, so charm­ingly that the thorns appeared at once to turn to roses, and we played with them. All that he said was deeply significant. It was an extended and impressive vision, full of simple, lovely illustrations, of the rise and development of the Church. The gracious little boy would not let me cast another glance at the Pas­sion of Christ, but introduced me into a series of visions quite different. I was now myself a child, but I did not take time to be surprised at it. I ran with the lit­tle boy to Jerusalem, to all the playgrounds of his childhood. He showed me everything and we played and prayed in the Crib Cave, to which as a child he had so often fled when his brothers teased him on account of his piety. It seemed as if his family were still living in the old homestead in which the father of David had dwelt, but which at the time of Christ's birth had passed into the hands of strangers, namely, into the hands of the Roman officials to whom Joseph had to pay the tax. We were frolicsome as children, and it seemed as if Jesus, yes, even the Mother of God, were not yet born."

In this way did Sister Emmerich pass, on the vigil

2. Probably Sister Emmerich forgot that Laetare Sunday is called also "Rose Sunday," because the Holy Father, to testify to the joy of this day which, like a rose, blooms among the thorns of Lenten-tide, blesses a golden rose and carries it in his hand through the streets of Rome. This may account for her mention of roses, just as wheat field corresponds to the name, "Sunday of Refreshment," or "Bread Sunday"; because on this day is read the Gospel of Jesus' feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. This day is called Dominica rosata, Dominica de pcssibus, and Dominica refectionis.


Life of Jesus Christ

 of St. Joseph's feast, from the sufferings of the Pas­sion into a consoling, childlike vision of the saint.

33. Personal Appearance of Mary And of Magdalen

I saw the Blessed Virgin with cheeks pale and haggard, her nose pinched and long, her eyes almost bloodshot from weeping. It is astonishing, as well as indescribable, how plain, straightforward, and sim­ple she was in appearance. Although since yesterday evening and even during the whole night, she had in fright, in anguish, and in tears, been wandering through the Valley of Josaphat and the crowded streets of Jerusalem, still was her dress in perfect order, her whole appearance marked by extreme pro­priety. There was not even a fold of her garments that did not bespeak sanctity. Everything about her was so upright and simple, so dignified, so pure, and so innocent. Her look as she gazed around was so noble, and as she turned her head a little, her veil fell in soft and graceful folds. Her movements were not eager and, though under the influence of the most grievous anguish, all her actions were performed simply and gently. Her garments were damp with the dew of the night and her own innumerable tears, but they were spotless and in perfect order. Her beauty was indescribable and altogether superhuman, for beauty in her was made up of immaculate purity, truth, simplicity, dignity, and holiness.

Magdalen, on the contrary, was just the reverse. She was taller and, both in figure and carriage, exhib­ited much more style. Her beauty, however, was now destroyed, owing to her violent repentance and intense grief. She was, if not decidedly ugly, at least painful to look upon, on account of the unrestrained fury of her passions. Her garments, wet and stained with mud, hung torn and disordered around her; her long hair floated loose and disheveled under her wet,

A Short Interval of Rest


 tossed veil. She was perfectly changed in appear­ance. She thought of nothing but her grief, and looked almost like one bereft of sense. There were many people here from Magdalum and the surrounding country who had known her in her early splendor, who had seen her in her wasting life of sin, and who had lost sight of her in her long retirement. Now they pointed her out with the finger and mocked at her forlorn appearance. Yes, there were some from Magdalum base enough even to throw mud at her as she passed along. But she did not notice it, so absorbed was she in her own sorrow.

34. Jesus Crowned With Thorns and Mocked

While Jesus was being scourged, Pilate had sev­eral times addressed the multitude, and again had the shout gone up: "He shall be executed, even if we die for it!" And when Jesus was led to the crowning, they cried again: "Away with Him! Away!" New bands of Jews were constantly arriving, and as they came, they were instigated by the runners of the High Priests to raise that cry.

Now followed a short interval of rest. Pilate gave some orders to his soldiers. The High Priests and Council meanwhile, seated on elevated benches on either side of the street in front of Pilate's terrace, shaded by trees and awnings, ordered food and drink to be brought them by their servants. I saw Pilate again perplexed and doubting. Yielding to his super­stition, he retired alone to burn incense before his gods and to busy himself in all kinds of divination.

I saw the Blessed Virgin and her companions, when they had dried up Jesus' blood after the scourging, leaving the forum. I saw them with the bloody linens in a small house built in a wall in the neighborhood. I do not now recall to whom it belonged, nor do I remember having seen John at the scourging.


Life of Jesus Christ

The crowning and mocking of Jesus took place in the inner court of the guardhouse, which stood in the forum over the prisons. It was surrounded with pillars, and the entrance was open. There were about fifty low-lived wretches belonging to the army, jailer's servants, executioners, lads, slaves, and whipping ser­vants, who took an active part in this maltreatment of Jesus. The mob at first crowded in eagerly, but was soon displaced by the thousand Roman soldiers who surrounded the building. They stood in rank and order, jeering and laughing, thereby giving to Jesus' tormentors new inducement to multiply His suffer­ings. Their jokes and laughter encouraged them as applause does the actor.

There was a hole in the middle of the court, and to this they had rolled the base of an old column, which may once have stood there. On that base they placed a low, round stool with an upright at the back by which to raise it, and maliciously covered it with sharp stones and potsherds.

Once more they tore Jesus' clothing from His wounded body, and threw over Him instead an old red military cloak tattered and so short that it did not reach to the knees. Shreds of yellow tassels hung on it here and there. It was kept in a corner of the exe­cutioners' room and used to throw around criminals after their scourging, either to dry the blood or to turn them into derision. Now they dragged Jesus to the stool covered with stones and potsherds, and violently forced His wounded, naked body down upon them. Then they put upon Him the crown of thorns. It was two hands high, thick, and skillfully plaited, with a projecting edge on top. They laid it like a binder round His brow and fastened it tightly in the back, thus forming it into a crown. It was skillfully woven from thorn branches three fingers thick, the thorns of which grew straight out. In plaiting the crown, as many of them as possible had been designedly pressed inward. There were three kinds of thorns, such as with us are

Base Inventions of Cruelty


 called buckthorn, blackthorn, and hawthorn. The pro­jecting edge on top was formed of one kind, which we call blackberry, and it was by this the torturer fas­tened it on and moved it in order to produce new suf­ferings. I have seen the spot whence the miscreants brought the thorns. Next they placed in Jesus' hand a thick reed with a tufted top. All this was done with mock solemnity, as if they were really crowning Him king. Then they snatched the reed from His hand and with it struck the crown violently, until His eyes filled with blood. They bent the knee before Him, stuck out their tongue at Him, struck and spat in His face, and cried out: "Hail, King of the Jews!" With shouts of mocking laughter, they upset Him along with the stool, in order to force Him violently down upon it again.

I am not able to repeat all the base inventions employed by those wretches to insult the poor Sav­iour. Ah! His thirst was horrible, for He was con­sumed with the fever of His wounds, the laceration caused by the inhuman scourging. He quivered.1 The flesh on His sides was in many places torn even to the ribs. His tongue contracted convulsively. Only the sacred Blood trickling down from His head laved, as it were in pity, His parched lips which hung lan­guishingly open. Those horrible monsters, seeing this, turned His mouth into a receptacle for their own disgusting filth. Jesus underwent this maltreat­ment for about half an hour, during which time the cohort surrounding the praetorium in rank and order kept up an uninterrupted jeering and laughing.

1. This contemplation moved Sister Emmerich to such compassion that she begged to share her Saviour's thirst. She fell at once into a violent fever and endured so burning a thirst that next morning she was unable to speak. Her tongue-blue, stiff, and parched-was drawn back in the throat; her lips were withered and stretched apart. The writer found her in this state the next morning, like one famishing for water, pale, unconscious, and apparently nigh unto death. After her attendants had with difficulty given her a little water, and after a long rest, she was able, though not without an effort, to relate the foregoing. The person watching by her reported that during the night Sister Emmerich fre­quently cried and moaned and writhed on her bed.


Life of Jesus Christ

35. “Ecce Homo!”

And now they again led Jesus, the crown of thorns upon His head, the mock scepter in His fettered hands, the purple mantle thrown around Him, into Pilate's palace. He was unrecognizable on account of the blood that filled His eyes and ran down into His mouth and beard. His body, covered with swollen welts and wounds, resembled a cloth dipped in blood, and His gait was bowed down and tottering. The mantle was so short that He had to stoop in order to cover Him­self with it, for at the crowning they had again torn off all His clothing. When He reached the lowest step of the flight that led up to Pilate, even that hard­hearted being was seized with a shudder of compas­sion and disgust. He leaned on one of his officers, and as the priests and the people kept up their shouts and mockery, he exclaimed: "If the devil were as cruel as the Jews, one could not live with him in Hell!" Jesus was wearily dragged up the steps, and while He stood a little back, Pilate stepped to the front of the balcony. The trumpet sounded to command atten­tion, for Pilate was going to speak. Addressing the High Priests and the people, he said: "Behold! I bring Him forth to you, that you may know that I find no cause in Him!"

Then Jesus was led forward by the executioners to the front of the balcony where Pilate was stand­ing, so that He could be seen by all the people in the forum. Oh, what a terrible, heart-rending spec­tacle! Silence, awful and gloomy, fell upon the mul­titude as the inhumanly treated Jesus, the sacred, martyrized figure of the Son of God, covered with blood and wounds, wearing the frightful crown of thorns, appeared and, from His eyes swimming in blood, cast a glance upon the surging crowd! Nearby stood Pilate, pointing to Him with his finger and cry­ing to the Jews: "Behold the Man!"

While Jesus, the scarlet cloak of derision thrown

"Behold the Man!"


 around His lacerated body, His pierced head sinking under the weight of the thorny crown, His fettered hands holding the mock scepter, was standing thus before Pilate's palace, in infinite sadness and benig­nity, pain and love, like a bloody phantom, exposed to the raging cries of both priests and people, a band of strangers, men and women, their garments girded, crossed the forum and went down to the sheep pool. They were going to help in the washing of the Paschal lambs, whose gentle bleating was still mingling with the sanguinary shouts of the multitude, as if wish­ing to bear witness to the Silent Truth. Now it was that the true Paschal Lamb of God, the revealed though unrecognized Mystery of this holy day, ful­filled the Prophecies and stretched Himself in silence on the slaughtering bench.

The High Priests and judges were perfectly infu­riated at the sight of Jesus, the dread Mirror of their own conscience, and they vociferated: "Away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate called out: "Are you not yet sat­isfied? He has been handled so roughly that He will never more want to be a king." But they and all the people, as if beside themselves with fury, cried out violently: "Away with Him! To the Cross with Him!" Again did Pilate order the trumpet to be sounded, and again did he cry out: "Take Him you and cru­cify Him, for I find no cause in Him!" To this the High Priests shouted: "We have a law, and accord­ing to it He must die, for He has made Himself the Son of God!" Pilate responded: "If you have such a law, that a man like this One must die, then may I never be a Jew!" The words, however, "He has made Himself the Son of God," renewed Pilate's anxiety, aroused again his superstitious fears. He caused Jesus therefore to be brought before him into the judgment hall, where he spoke to Him alone. He began by ask­ing: "Whence art Thou?" But Jesus gave him no answer. "Dost Thou not answer me?" said Pilate. "Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee


Life of Jesus Christ

 and power to release Thee?" "Thou shouldst not have any power," answered Jesus, "unless it were given thee from above; therefore he that hath delivered Me to thee hath the greater sin."

Just at this moment, Claudia Procla, Pilate's wife, anxious at seeing his irresolution, sent again to him, directing the messenger to show him once more the pledge he had given her of his promise. But he returned a vague, superstitious reply in which he appealed to his gods.

Undecided and perplexed as before, Pilate again went forth and addressed the people, telling them that he could find no guilt in Jesus. They meanwhile had been stirred up by the report spread by the High Priests and Pharisees, namely, that "Jesus' followers had bribed Pilate's wife; that if Jesus were set free, He would unite with the Romans and then they would all be put to death." This so roused the multitude that they clamored more vehemently than ever for His death. Pilate, desirous of obtaining in some way an answer to his questions, went back again to Jesus in the judgment hall. When alone with Him, he glanced at Him almost in fear, and thought in a con­fused sort of a way: "What if this Man should indeed be a god!" And then with an oath he at once began adjuring Jesus to say whether He was a god and not a human being, whether He was that king promised to the Jews. How far did His Kingdom extend? To what rank did His divinity belong? and ended by declaring that, if Jesus would answer his questions, he would set Him free. What Jesus said to Pilate in answer, I can repeat only in substance, not in words. The Lord spoke words of terrible import. He gave Pilate to understand what kind of a king He was, over what kind of a kingdom He reigned, and what was the truth, for He told him the truth. He laid before him the abominable state of his own conscience, foretold the fate in store for him—exile in misery and a horrible end. He told him, moreover, that He

“His Blood Be Upon Us!”


 would one day come to pass sentence upon him in just judgment.

Frightened and vexed at Jesus' words, Pilate again went out upon the balcony and proclaimed his inten­tion of freeing Jesus. Then arose the cry: "If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend, for whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar!" Others shouted: "We will denounce thee to Caesar as a disturber of our feast. Make up thy mind at once, for under pain of punishment we must be in the Temple by ten tonight." And the cry: "To the cross with Him! Away with Him!" resounded furi­ously on all sides, even from the flat roofs of the houses near the forum, upon which some of the mob had clambered.

Pilate now saw that he could do nothing with the raging multitude. There was something truly fright­ful in the confusion and uproar. The whole mass of people collected before the palace was in such a state of rage and excitement that a violent insurrection was to be feared. Then Pilate called for water. The servant that brought it poured it from a vase over his hands before the people, while Pilate called down from the balcony: "I am innocent of the blood of this just Man! Look ye to it!" Then went up from the assembled multitude, among whom were people from all parts of Palestine, the horrible, the unanimous cry: "His blood be upon us and upon our children!"

Whenever in my meditations upon the sorrowful Passion, I hear this cry of the Jews: "His blood be upon us and upon our children!" the effect of that solemn self-malediction is made sensible to me in visions wonderful and terrible. I see over that vocif­erating multitude a gloomy sky covered with blood red clouds, fiery scourges and swords. It seems as if I see radiations from that curse piercing to the mar­row of their bones, yes, touching even their children in the mother's womb. I see the whole nation enveloped in darkness. I see that frightful cry bursting from


Life of Jesus Christ

 their lips like so many lurid, angry flames, which rise and unite over their head, and then recoil upon them, penetrating deeply into some, but only float­ing around others. By these last were symbolized those that were converted after Jesus' death. Their number was not inconsiderable, for I saw Jesus and Mary, during all their frightful sufferings, praying continually for the salvation of the tormentors. For not one moment were the Saviour and His Mother angered by all their horrible maltreatment. I see the entire Passion of the Lord under symbols of the most malicious, the most barbarous torments, the basest and most insolent mockery; under symbols of rage and fury, and of the most horrible and sanguinary dispositions on the part of His enemies and their dependents; under symbols of ingratitude and denial on the part of many of His own followers; under sym­bols of the bitterest sufferings of soul and body. But I see Jesus enduring all, till His last gasp, in con­stant prayer, in constant love for His enemies, and constant supplication for their conversion. But by that very patience and love, I see the rage and mad­ness of His enemies still more inflamed. They become furious, because all their ill-treatment cannot draw from His uncomplaining lips one word that could jus­tify their malice. Today at the Passover, when they are killing the Paschal lamb, they know not that at the same time they are killing the real Lamb.

When in such contemplations, I turn my thoughts upon the dispositions of the people and the judges, and then direct them to the most holy souls of Jesus and of Mary, all that takes place within them is shown me under various forms. It is true that the people themselves did not see it, but they felt all that those forms typify. I see then an innumerable throng of diabolical figures, each perfectly conformable to the vice that he symbolizes, and all in frightful activity among the people. I see them running hither and thither, inciting and confusing the multitude,

Symbolical Contemplations


 whispering into their ears, slipping into their mouths. I see them driving numbers from the surging mass, uniting them into one band, and inciting them against Jesus, before whose love and patience they retire tremblingly and again disappear in the crowd. But in all their actions I see something desperate, per­plexing, even self-destructive, a confused and irra­tional incentive, first here, then there. Above and around Jesus, however, and near Mary and each one of the small number of holy persons present at this terrible scene, I behold innumerable saints in con­tinual motion. I see them according to their various missions under manifold forms and raiment. Their actions appear sometimes to typify consolation afforded, as prayer or anointing, as feeding, cloth­ing, and giving drink to the needy, or as other works of mercy.

In the same way, I often see words of comfort or of warning issuing in various colored rays of light from the mouth of such apparitions, or they carry in their hands messages in the form of scrolls of writ­ing. I often see also (that is, if it is necessary for me to know it) the movements of souls and their inte­rior passions, their suffering, their loving, all that the soul perceives. I see them penetrating, flashing through the breast and, indeed, through the whole body of human beings, sometimes in light of differ­ent colors, again in shadows. They appear under man­ifold forms, under colors and figures that undergo many changes, some sudden, others more deliberate, and then I understand it all. But it is impossible to repeat it, for it is unending and, besides, I am so full of pain, suffering, and anxiety in consequence of my own sins and those of the whole world, so torn by the bitter Passion of Jesus, that I know not how I am able to put together the little that I do relate. Many things, especially the apparitions and facts connected with the agency of angels and demons that have been contemplated by other souls when gazing


Life of Jesus Christ

 in vision upon the Passion of Christ, become inter­mixed when being related. They are fragments of similar interior, invisible, spiritual, visionary opera­tions. They are retained in the memory according to the seer's own caliber of soul, sometimes in one way, sometimes in another, and are often erroneously joined together in the process of communication. Hence follow contradictory statements, since sundry things are entirely forgotten, others carelessly passed over, while some only are recorded. Since every species of wickedness expended itself in tormenting Jesus, since all love has suffered in Him, since He, as the Lamb of God, took upon Himself the sins of the world—who could know, who could relate those endless details of cruelty on the one side, of holiness on the other? If, therefore, the visions and medita­tions of many devout souls do not perfectly harmo­nize with one another, it is because those souls were not favored with similar graces of seeing, or facility of understanding and communicating.

36. Jesus Condemned to the Death of the Cross

Pilate, who was not seeking the truth but a way out of difficulty, now became more undecided than ever. His conscience reproached him: "Jesus is inno­cent." His wife said: "Jesus is holy." His superstition whispered: "He is an enemy of thy gods." His cow­ardice cried out: "He is Himself a god, and He will avenge Himself." Then did he again anxiously and solemnly question Jesus, and then did Jesus make known to him his secret transgressions, his future career and miserable end, and warned him that He would come one day sitting on the clouds to pro­nounce a just sentence upon him. And now came a new weight to be cast into the false scales of his jus­tice against Jesus' release. He was offended at hav­ing to stand before Jesus, whom he could not fathom,

Pilate's Indecision


 with his ignominious conscience unveiled under His gaze; and that the Man whom he had caused to be scourged and whom he had power to crucify, should predict for him a miserable end; yes, that the lips to which no lie had ever been imputed, which had uttered no word of self-justification, should, even in this moment of dire distress, summon him on that day to a just judgment. All this roused his pride. But as no one sentiment ruled supreme in this miserable, irresolute creature, he was seized with anxiety at the remembrance of the Lord's warning, and so he determined to make a last effort to free Him. At the threats of the Jews, however, to denounce him to the Emperor, another cowardly fear took possession of Pilate. The fear of an earthly sovereign overruled the fear of the King whose Kingdom was not of this world. The cowardly, irresolute wretch thought: "If He dies, so die with Him also what He knows of me and what He has predicted to me." At the threat of the Emperor, Pilate yielded to the will of the multi­tude, although against the promise he had pledged to his wife, against right and justice and his own conscience. Through fear of the Emperor, he deliv­ered to the Jews the blood of Jesus; for his own con­science he had naught but the water which he ordered to be poured over his hands while he cried out: "I am innocent of the blood of this just Man. Look ye to it!" No, Pilate! But do thou thyself look to it! Thou knowest Him to be just, and yet thou dost shed His blood! Thou art an unjust, an unprincipled judge! And that same blood, which Pilate sought to wash from his hands and which he could not wash from his soul, the bloodthirsty Jews invoked as a male­diction upon themselves and upon their children. The blood of Jesus, which cries for pardon for us, they invoke as vengeance upon themselves: They cry: "His blood be upon us and our children!"

While this terrible cry was resounding on all sides, Pilate ordered preparations to be made for pronounc­ing


Life of Jesus Christ

 the sentence. His robes of ceremony were brought to him. A crown, in which sparkled a precious stone, was placed on his head, another mantle was thrown around him, and a staff was borne before him. A number of soldiers surrounded him, officers of the tribunal went before him carrying something, and Scribes with parchment rolls and little tablets fol­lowed him. The whole party was preceded by a man sounding a trumpet. Thus did Pilate leave his palace and proceed to the forum where, opposite the scourg­ing place, there was a high, beautifully constructed judgment seat. Only when delivered from that seat had the sentence full weight. It was called Gabbatha. It consisted of a circular balcony, and up to it there were several flights of steps. It contained a seat for Pilate, and behind it a bench for others connected with the tribunal. The balcony was surrounded and the steps occupied by soldiers. Many of the Phar­isees had already left the palace and gone to the Temple. Only Annas, Caiaphas, and about twenty-eight others went at once to the judgment seat in the forum, while Pilate was putting on his robes of ceremony. The two thieves had been taken thither when Pilate presented the Lord to the people with the words, "Ecce Homo." Pilate's seat was covered with red, and on it lay a blue cushion bordered with yellow.

And now Jesus in the scarlet cloak, the crown of thorns upon His head, His hands bound, was led by the soldiers and executioners through the mocking crowd and placed between the two murderers in front of the judgment seat. From this seat of state Pilate once more said aloud to the enemies of Jesus: "Behold there your King!" But they yelled: "Away, away with this Man! Crucify Him!" "Shall I crucify your King?" said Pilate. "We have no king but Caesar!" responded the High Priests. From that moment Pilate spoke no word for nor with Jesus. He began the sentence of condemnation. The two thieves had been already sen­tenced

The Sentence of Condemnation


 to the cross, but their execution, at the request of the High Priests, had been postponed till today. They thought to outrage Jesus the more by having Him crucified with two infamous murderers. The crosses of the thieves were already lying near them, brought by the executioners' assistants. Our Lord's was not yet there, probably because His death sen­tence had not yet been pronounced.

The Blessed Virgin, who had withdrawn to some distance when Pilate presented Jesus to the Jews and when He was greeted by them with that blood­thirsty cry, now, surrounded by several women, again pressed through the crowd to be present at the death sentence of her Son and her God. Jesus, encircled by the executioners and greeted with rage and derisive laughter by His enemies, was standing at the foot of the steps before Pilate. The trumpet commanded silence, and with dastardly rage Pilate pronounced the sentence of death.

The sight of that base double-tongued wretch; the triumph of the bloodthirsty but now satisfied Phar­isees who had so cruelly hunted down their Prey; the innumerable sufferings of the Most Blessed Sav­iour; the inexpressible affliction and anguish of His Blessed Mother and the holy women; the eager lis­tening of the furious Jews; the cold, proud demeanor of the soldiers; and the apparitions of all those hor­rible, diabolical forms among the crowd, quite over­powered me. Ah! I felt that I should have been standing there instead of my Beloved Bridegroom. Then truly would the sentence have been just!

Pilate first spoke some words in which, with high sounding titles, he named the Emperor Claudius Tiberius. Then he set forth the accusation against Jesus; that, as a seditious character, a disturber and violator of the Jewish laws, who had allowed Him­self to be called the Son of God and the King of the Jews, He had been sentenced to death by the High Priests, and by the unanimous voice of the people


Life of Jesus Christ

 given over to be crucified. Furthermore Pilate, that iniquitous judge, who had in these last hours so fre­quently and publicly asserted the innocence of Jesus, now proclaimed that he found the sentence of the High Priests just, and ended with the words: "I also condemn Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, to be nailed to the cross." Then he ordered the execution­ers to bring the cross. I have also some indistinct recollection of his taking a long stick, the center of which was full of pith, breaking it and throwing the pieces at Jesus' feet.

The most afflicted Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, on hearing Pilate's words became like one in a dying state, for now was the cruel, frightful, ignominious death of her holy and beloved Son and Saviour cer­tain. John and the holy women took her away from the scene, that the blinded multitude might not ren­der themselves still more guilty by jeering at the sorrow of the Mother of their Saviour. But Mary could not rest. She longed to visit every spot marked by Jesus' sufferings. Her companions had once more to accompany her from place to place, for the mystical sacrifice that she was offering to God by her most holy compassion urged her to pour out the sacrifice of her tears wherever the Redeemer born of her had suffered for the sins of mankind, His brethren. And so the Mother of the Lord, by the consecration of her tears, took possession of all the sacred places upon earth for the future veneration of the Church, the Mother of us all, just as Jacob set up the memorial stone and consecrated it with oil that it should wit­ness to the promise made him.

Pilate next seated himself on the judgment seat and wrote out the sentence, which was copied by sev­eral officials standing behind him. Messengers were dispatched with the copies, for some of them had to be signed by others. I do not know whether this for­mality was requisite for the sentence, or whether it included other commissions, but some of the writ­ings

Pilate Writes Jesus' Sentence


 were certainly sent to certain distant places. Pilate's written condemnation against Jesus clearly showed his deceit, for its purport was altogether dif­ferent from that which he had pronounced orally. I saw that he was writing against his will, in painful perplexity of mind, and as if an angel of wrath were guiding his hand. The written sentence was about as follows:

"Urged by the High Priests, and the Sanhedrim, and fearing an insurrection of the people who accuse Jesus of Nazareth of sedition, blasphemy, and infrac­tion of the laws, and who demand that He should be put to death, I have (though indeed without being able to substantiate their accusations) delivered Him to be crucified along with two other condemned crim­inals whose execution was postponed through the influence of the High Priests because they wanted Jesus to suffer with them. I have condemned Jesus because I do not wish to be accused to the Emperor as an unjust judge of the Jews and as an abettor of insurrections; and I have condemned Him as a crim­inal who has acted against the laws, and whose death has been violently demanded by the Jews."

Pilate caused many copies of this sentence to be made and sent to different places. The High Priests, however, were not at all satisfied with the written sentence, especially because Pilate wrote that they had requested the crucifixion of the thieves to be postponed in order that Jesus might be executed with them. They quarreled with Pilate about it at the judgment seat. And when with varnish he wrote on a little dark brown board the three lines of the inscrip­tion for the cross, they disputed again with him con­cerning the title, and demanded that it should not be "King of the Jews," but "He called Himself the King of the Jews." Pilate, however, had become quite impatient and insulting, and he replied roughly: "What I have written, I have written!"

They wanted likewise the cross of Jesus not to rise


Life of Jesus Christ

 higher above His head than those of the two thieves. But it had to be so, for it was at first too short to allow the title written by Pilate to be placed over Jesus' head. They consequently opposed its being made higher by an addition, thus hoping to prevent the title so ignominious to themselves from being put up. But Pilate would not yield. They had to raise the height by fastening on the trunk a piece upon which the title could be placed. And it was thus the Cross received that form so full of significance, in which I have always seen it.

Claudia Procla sent back to Pilate his pledge and declared herself released from him. I saw her that same evening secretly leaving his palace and fleeing to the holy women, by whom she was concealed in Lazarus' house. Later on, she followed Paul and became his special friend. On a greenish stone in the rear side of Gabbatha, I afterward saw a man engrav­ing two lines with a sharp iron instrument. In them were the words, Judex injustus, "Unjust judge," and also the name of Claudia Procla. I see this stone still in existence, though unknown, in the foundation of a building that occupies the site upon which Gab­batha once stood.

After the proclamation of the sentence, the Most Holy Redeemer again fell a prey to the savage exe­cutioners. They brought Him His own clothes, which had been taken from Him at the mocking before Caiaphas. They had been safely kept and, I think, some compassionate people must have washed them, for they were clean. It was also, I think, customary among the Romans thus to lead the condemned to execution. Now was Jesus again stripped by the infa­mous ruffians, who loosened His hands that they might be able to clothe Him anew. They dragged the red woolen mantle of derision from His lacerated body, and in so doing tore open many of His wounds. Tremblingly, He Himself put on the undergarment about His loins, after which they threw His woolen

Jesus Resumes His Own Garments


 scapular over His neck. But as they could not put on over the broad crown of thorns the brown, seam­less tunic which His Blessed Mother had woven, they snatched the crown from His head, causing the blood to gush anew from all the wounds with unspeakable pain. When they had put the woven tunic upon His wounded body, they threw over it His loose white, woolen robe, His broad girdle, and lastly His man­tle. Then they bound around His waist the fetter gir­dle, by whose long cords they led Him. All this took place with horrible barbarity, amid kicks and blows.

The two thieves were standing on the right and left of Jesus, their hands bound. When before the tri­bunal, they had, like Jesus, a chain hanging around their neck. They had a covering around their loins, and a kind of sleeveless scapular jacket made of some old stuff and open at the sides. On their head was a cap of twisted straw around which was a roll, or pad, shaped almost like the hats worn by children. The thieves were of a dirty brown complexion, and were covered with the welts left by their scourging. The one that was afterward converted was now quiet and recollected in himself, but the other was furious and insolent. He joined the executioners in cursing and deriding Jesus who, sighing for their salvation, cast upon them looks of love and bore all His suf­ferings for them. The executioners meanwhile were busy gathering together their tools. All things were made ready for this, the saddest, the most cruel jour­ney, upon which the loving, the most sorely afflicted Redeemer was to carry for us ingrates the burden of our sins, and at the end of which He was to pour out from the chalice of His body, pierced by the out­casts of the human race, the atoning torrent of His precious blood.

At last Annas and Caiaphas, angry and wrangling, finished with Pilate. Taking with them the couple of long, narrow scrolls, or parchment rolls, that they had received, copies of the sentence, they hurried off


Life of Jesus Christ

 to the Temple. They had need of haste to arrive in time.

Here the High Priests parted from the true Paschal Lamb. They hurried to the Temple of stone, to slaugh­ter and eat the type, while allowing its Realization, the true Lamb of God, to be led to the altar of the Cross by infamous executioners. Here did the way divide—one road leading to the veiled, the other to the accomplished Sacrifice. They delivered the pure, expiating Paschal Lamb of God, whom they had out­wardly aspersed with their atrocious barbarity, whom they had striven to defile, to impure and inhuman executioners, while they themselves hastened to the stone Temple, there to sacrifice the lambs that had been washed, purified, and blessed. They had, with timid care, provided against contracting outward legal impurity themselves, while sullying their soul with inward wickedness, which was boiling over in rage, envy, and scorn. "His blood be upon us and upon our children!" With these words they had fulfilled the ceremony, had laid the hand of the sacrificer upon the head of the victim. Here again, the road branched into two: the one to the Altar of the Law, the other to the Altar of Grace. But Pilate, that proud, irres­olute pagan, who trembled in the presence of the true God and who nevertheless paid worship to his idols and courted the favor of the world—Pilate, a slave of death, ruling for a short time and on his way to the ignominious term of eternal death—goes with his assistants, and surrounded by his guard, along a path running between those two roads of his own palace, preceded by his trumpeters. The unjust sentence was pronounced at about ten o'clock in the morning according to our time.

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0221

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